Bady the police dog killed by lightning
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office last week lost a law enforcement dog, while its handler lost a partner and a pet in an unusual circumstance.
Bady, a 9-year-old, 100-pound German shepherd multi-purpose canine with the sheriff’s office was struck by lighting at the home of its handler, Master Dep. John Stull.
The two had just come home from training at Virginia Tech’s campus, Stull said, when a bad storm occurred.
He heard a loud pop and thought that one of his trees had been struck by lightning. Shortly after, Stull found his dog under a tree, dead from the strike.
“It was his favorite tree. He always liked to curl up underneath that tree,” he said.
Stull said he’s been partners with Bady since 2007 and was getting ready to retire him in July.
Bady had better work ethic than any partner Stull has had in his 12 years with the sheriff’s office, he said.
“Even on an off day, he got in the car and was ready to rock and roll,” Stull said.
The two worked countless narcotic searches, manhunts, and building clearings throughout Montgomery, Floyd, Giles and Pulaski counties, Stull said. He compared the bond they developed – learning to read each other verbally and non-verbally, to SWAT and tactical members becoming close after going through life threatening situations together.
Stull said he’s had dogs all his life, and until Bady, never felt the need to honor one after death through cremation. He cremated Bady and received his ashes Friday.
“It’s hard. It’s different than a regular pet. There’s literally blood, sweat and tears when it comes to training a dog like that,” Stull said.
He recalled a time that training paid off. Bady had successfully tracked a suspect into the woods. Law enforcement deputies caught the suspect, but the suspect had nothing on him.
Bady backtracked from the woods to another point, where he found several thousand dollars worth of stolen jewelry and loaded handguns buried. This apprehension, which took place in 2009, was the first ever by a sheriff’s office K9, Stull said.
His dog was loyal to Stull to no end, he said. “He was a one person dog,” Stull said.
Stull found a silver lining when talking about the loss last week. Bady was diagnosed with Lupus and would likely have to be put down eventually.
That would be an incredibly tough decision for Stull, he said, as would watching Bady suffer through sickness.
Since Bady was going to be retired in July, Stull said he’s already requested money for a new dog.
A new K9 and training would cost the sheriff’s office between $6,000 and $10,000, Stull said.
The Roanoke Times | 381-8621